BSU alum Allison Cordes giving back inside NSIC headquarters

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Former Bemidji State guard Allison Cordes (1) dribbles toward the hoop during a 2017 game against Minnesota Crookston at the Sanford Center. (Pioneer file photo)

BURNSVILLE -- When Allison Cordes was a college freshman at Bemidji State, she got her first taste of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Seven years later, she’s behind the same scenes for others following in her footsteps.

“Being a student-athlete taught me a lot of different life skills, and it provided me a lot of opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had,” said Cordes, the NSIC Assistant Commissioner for Membership Services. “Being able to give back and help provide those experiences for others really means a lot.”

Cordes, a member of the BSU women’s basketball team from 2013-17, scored 478 career points and was a team captain her senior year. The lefty guard made 50 starts over 109 appearances, never missing a game throughout her four years as a Beaver.

“It’s also been fun to still work with Bemidji State in different capacities,” Cordes said. “I’m working as colleagues now with my former coach, Chelsea DeVille, and (Athletic Director) Tracy Dill. It means a lot that I’m able to stay with the conference that gave me so much and helped shape who I am today.

“That part is really fun: to still be connected with where I got my roots in the conference.”


Following her graduation, Cordes got her foot in the door at the Northern Sun as an intern for the 2018-19 academic year. Then in August 2019, the Roseville native was hired by the conference into her current, full-time role.

Her responsibilities are broad, but in general she works with member schools’ administrative groups, coaching groups and the NSIC’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (in which she held a leadership role while attending BSU). Cordes also runs the conference championships in swimming and diving, softball, and volleyball -- the last of which is the Northern Sun’s strongest sport and arguably the best conference in Division II.

“I’m loving my job so far,” Cordes said. “… Each day is different in what I’m managing, but I really enjoy that I get to work with so many people across the conference.”

Predictably, much of Cordes’ current efforts are targeted toward challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has created.

“It’s been busy during this time of planning for next year, trying to create the safest environment for our student-athletes and how we can get competition back,” she said. “It’s been a lot of different things on the fly, but a lot of good challenges on how we can create the best solution. It’s actually been fun the last few weeks because I’ve gotten to use my math skills for schedule adjustments.”

Cordes graduated from Bemidji State with a major in mathematics education and a minor in sport management. She was a student-teacher and a long-term substitute before joining the Northern Sun office, and, while an intern, she was also an assistant coach for the Section 7-4A champion Centennial High School girls basketball team in 2018-19 and an assistant on Roseville’s girls cross country team.

But before all that, she had a part-time internship inside BSU’s athletic department as a senior in college.

“That gave me the first taste of working in college athletics,” Cordes said. “(Dill) really encouraged me to apply for the (NSIC) internship and thought it would be a great fit for me. … With Tracy putting that bug in my ear about the internship, I kept getting drawn back to trying it out.”


Three years later, she’s making a living out of it.

“I get to have an impact on all the student-athletes across the conference and how they experience college and college athletics,” Cordes said. “It’s really powerful to be able to have that opportunity to work with all of them, to help their experience be the best that it can be.”

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Allison Cordes

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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